Barbell Row as Deadlift Accessory

The obvious question is what kind of barbell row are we talking about here. There seems to be all kinds of rows on a spectrum: from almost vertical torso e.g. Yates Row to almost horizontal ala Pendlay Ro. From super strict may-as-well-do-a-chest-supported-row variations to deadlifting and shrug as hard as possible at the top.

What I’m thinking of is something similar to what is suggested by these powerlifters:

Ed Coan (The GOAT)

Cailler Woolam (420.5kg/927lbs ATWR @ 220)

What they propose is kind of a middle ground of all the barbell rows. Bit of momentum to start the weight moving but not so much that you end up looking like you’re are trying to poorly muscle clean the weight. Torso angle and weight selection such that you get a nice full ROM as opposed to a little jerky shrug.

Kind of like putting the romanian deadlift and a row toegther, getting the benefits of both: Trains the back muscles involved in DL which are usually isometrically contracted and stretched, dynamically through full ROM with stretch and significant time under tension. Erectors are contracting isometrically and starting momentum comes from romanian deadlifting albeit in a shortened range. Relatively light loads are less taxing on recovery allowing higher volume and frequency training to facilitate hypertrophy.

I can see this movement having some utility as an accessory movement or variation in an accumulation/hypertrophy phase to build the musculature of the deadlift. However two or three different movements could be as effective if not more so.


I use them occasionally as a supplemental movement (conjugate training). There are times when I’m flat on energy (they are taxing) and I’ll substitute chest supported rows, or seated rows.

By the way, if your midsection is weak in any way, this movement will act as an indicator.

They are good, training your lats and building your lower back at the same time. Just don’t overdo it and if your lower back is getting beat up already from all the squats and pulls then switch it for another row that puts less strain on your back. It doesn’t only need to be done in an accumulation or hypertrophy phase, but I would definitely think twice about doing them in a peaking phase.

Why not in a peaking phase mr. expert?

Because it can cause a lot of back fatigue and you need to save your back for the lifts that actually count.

Then I guess Coan was wrong for continuing ALL assistance work up to the day of the meet.


Maybe he thought about it?


So how come you don’t do them all the time?

Sounds like you’re a big pussy

Personal insults now. Real Bright. I just learned what you’re aboot.

So why are you talking shit then? You say that they should be done all the time because Ed Coan did so but you can’t even handle that yourself. Sounds a bit hypocritical.

And as for the insults, you’ve been quite rude yourself. I hope I didn’t make you cry!

Read my post again and go back to reading comprehension class junior.

Oh sorry, I forgot you were a big pussy

Is that all you have? Seriously?


To paraphrase:

“What type of rows should I do? This kind?”

“I do those, but they tax the lower back so be careful. Maybe drop them during peaking.”


Never change T-Nation.


You two should just fuck already.


Woolam said his deadlift skyrocketed after he started doing them (not on deadlift day iirc) and dude’s a beast so I think it’s worth a shot. I do them his way and you really feel the lats and hammy’s.


Revolutionary stuff, I tell you!

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I’m curious about this, do you know what other sort of exercises he uses to build his deadlift? Barbell rows are definitely a good exercise, but it seems odd that they would have such a big impact on someone’s pull. Maybe if he had weak lats and lower back and wasn’t doing much else for them. I wish they would make my deadlift skyrocket, but at least they make my lower back feel extra solid and are less tedious than dumbbell rows.